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Ebbe Skovdahl, Aberdeen manager
"With all the pressure on Rangers, that could be positive for us"
 real 28k

Dick Advocaat, Rangers manager
"We've done a good job so far but we can improve that on Saturday"
 real 28k

Thursday, 25 May, 2000, 15:45 GMT 16:45 UK
Veteran managers go head-to-head
Skovdahl Advocaat
Skovdahl and Advocaat want victory for different reasons
This year's Scottish Cup final pits two wily, high-pedigree European managers against each other.

Dutchman Dick Advocaat and the Dane, Ebbe Skovdahl, have both achieved success in their native countries before coming to Scottish shores to ply their trade.

Advocaat can clinch a fifth domestic trophy in two years if Rangers win on Saturday.

Arild Stavrum: Dons' top scorer
Skovdahl, on the other hand, is looking to restore a bit of pride to a team which finished bottom of the league, by winning his first piece of silverware in Scotland.

Both men are similar in their dignified appearance and manner which can sometimes betray a fierce desire for success.

Their CVs are up there among the best in European football.

Skovdahl's most notable achievements came during his three spells as manager of Brondby IF in Denmark.

Skovdahl's record

Five league championships, one Danish Cup win and credibility in Europe were among the successes achieved by the Dane.

He also spent a year in charge of Benfica in Portugal where he led the team to second in the league and to a European Cup quarter-final.

Advocaat is no mean achiever either, having led PSV Eindhoven to a league and cup double in 1996 and the national side to a World Cup quarter-final where they lost to eventual winners Brazil in 1994.

The Little General, as he is known in Holland, has a reputation for being a stickler for discipline, but his record since arriving at Rangers cannot be disputed and it is clear that his tough approach has done wonders for players like Barry Ferguson.

For different reasons, both managers are anxious to secure a win on Saturday in the Tennent's Scottish Cup final.

As long as the club thinks I can do the job and I feel the same, I'd like to stay here

Ebbe Skovdahl, Aberdeen manager
Skovdahl knows that the pressure is on Rangers, who are widely expected to win, and he believes that could work in Aberdeen's favour.

"What's special about a cup final is that you can put all your efforts into that specific game," said the laid-back Dane.

"I'm happy with the way we have been spreading goals throughout the team.

"We have Arild Stavrum, who is our top scorer, but we also have Eoin Jess, Cato Guntveit, Belabed, Bernard, Winters and Zerouali who can all score.

"It's good to have a spread rather than just one scorer because it makes it easier to close down otherwise."

No illusions

He admitted that the team was unlikely to reach the standard he would like them to attain during his tenure as manager, but stressed that he would like to stay at the helm for the foreseeable future to help them progress.

"As long as the club thinks I can do the job and I feel the same, I'd like to stay here," added Skovdahl.

The Dane is certainly under no illusions as to the difficulty of the task which faces his side on Saturday.

"Tactically, when you analyse Rangers, it's very difficult to find any weaknesses, but if they are without Craig Moore and Lorenzo Amoruso they are not in the strongest position," he said.

"But they'll be replaced by quality players - maybe it makes them a little bit weaker - but they're so efficient in what they do."

Barry Ferguson: Flourished under Advocaat
Advocaat is taking nothing for granted, however, having seen his side beaten by the Dons in the CIS Insurance Cup and held to a draw in the league.

"Every game against Aberdeen is a real battle. It is one game and everything can happen - we have everything to lose and they have everything to win," said the Dutchman.

"At the start of the season we wanted to be champions and to do well in Europe.

"I think we did both - we're now in a cup final so if we lose it is a good season, not an excellent one. everybody realises how important this game is."

Advocaat is keen to stress how far his team has progressed since last season.

"Despite a lot of injuries, if you are 21 points ahead of Celtic, who in my opinion are still a great team, that says enough about improvement.

"We are already working behind the scenes for next season but now we have only one priority - the final against Aberdeen.

"We've done a good job this season but we can improve on that on Saturday."

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See also:

24 May 00 | Football
Aberdeen's ones to watch
24 May 00 | Football
Rangers' ones to watch
21 May 00 | Scottish Premier
Dons shape up for final test
28 Apr 00 | Football
Dons lose tickets appeal
12 May 00 | Scottish Premier
Aberdeen boss denies rift
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